Aug 05, 2015
I’ve been in a slump lately. I’m not sure if it’s because it is summer and the law library is quiet or if it’s just general ennui but I have plenty of projects to work on and not a whole lot of drive to get it done.
I tried to “snap out of it” and reminded myself of all reasons that I love working at a law library. I read the American Association of Law Libraries ("AALL") White Paper on Access to Justice and printed out a copy of Richard Zorza’s “The Sustainable Twenty-first Century Law Library: Vision, Deployment and Assessment for Access to Justice”.
Unfortunately, all my reading did not quite get those creative juices flowing.
Thankfully, inspiration landed in my lap in the form of a farewell speech by the President of the Riverside County Law Library Board of Directors, Judge Michele Levine. She spoke at the retirement party for our esteemed colleague Janice Searle, formerly the Legal Information Services Librarian.
Judge Levine related the story from an episode of the popular 60s TV show “The Twilight Zone” called “Time Enough at Last”* The episode is about a severely myopic man, Henry, who loves to read but never finds the time between work and his wife’s demand. Regrettably, an unknown catastrophic event leaves Henry as the sole survivor.
Although distraught at the demise of everyone else, Henry realizes that he now has the time to read. He makes his way to the public library to sort the books that he would like to read, only to trip and shatter his glasses before picking up his first book. Henry is understandably distraught.
To make the story apropos to the event, Judge Levine likened the law library staff to that pair of glasses. I will mangle her elegant words but the gist of her speech was that the staff acts as that pair of glasses did for Henry. Our patrons, she explained, relied on us to help them “see” in the confusing world of the law.
We forget sometimes how hard and seemingly indecipherable the law can be. Judge Levine’s words were a reminder that we (at the RCLL) help people see and navigate their way through some pretty complicated legal issues. That reminder is inspirational.
*The well-known episode is based on Lynn Venable’s short story of the same name.